02
Apr
07

5000 tribesmen enlist to fight Al Qaeda

Around 5,000 tribesmen gathered in a Pakistani border area Monday to enlist for ongoing battles against foreign Al-Qaeda militants.

The jirga or tribal assembly was called by a pro-government chief and former Taliban commander following two weeks of pitched battles in the South Waziristan region during which more than 200 people have died.

The Pakistani government says the efforts to drive the Uzbek, Chechen and Arab militants from the area show the success of Islamabad’s peace deals with formerly Taliban-supporting tribesmen.

“We should fight against the foreigners as one nation. They have created so many problems for us,” said the tribal commander, Mullah Nazir while addressing a gathering.

Officials say the foreign insurgents, who are accused of leading attacks on NATO and US forces inAfghanistan, number around 500. Most fled Afghanistan after the 2001 fall of the Taliban regime.

Nazir and other chiefs said they would gather a tribal army known as a lashkar on Tuesday morning in Wana, the capital of the lawless region on the border with Afghanistan, to fight the foreign militants. They called on tribesmen in the neighbouring towns of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan, which are officially outside the semi-autonomous Pakistani tribal belt, to join in.

The council also warned local tribesmen not to support foreigners or else their homes would be burnt, they would face a one million rupee (16,394 dollar) fine and they would be expelled from the area. The main bazaar in Wana was shut on Monday and intermittent heavy weapons fire could be heard in the distance. Tribesmen have captured some of the foreign militants’ forward positions, a security official said.

Militants fired three rockets at a paramilitary camp in Wana early Monday but there were no casualties, the official said, adding that one rocket damaged the boundary wall of a public school.

The violence broke out on March 19 when Mullah Nazir ordered a group of Uzbeks to disarm. Tensions had been growing over the foreigners’ alleged terror activities as well as over local disputes.

Source: Yahoo News

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